How Do You Do a Spreadsheet?

by Bonnie Conrad

Designing a spreadsheet allows you to keep track of all kinds of numerical data, from inventory numbers to profit and loss statements. Even though spreadsheets can be very useful tools for analysis, the data they provide is only as good as the design you create. Taking the time to sketch out your spreadsheet ahead of time can make the data you enter that much more valuable.

Make a list of the fields you want to include in your spreadsheet. Think about the type of data you want to include in your analysis. This could include pricing information, inventory numbers and other numerical data.

Sketch out how you want the data to be arrayed in the spreadsheet. The typical spreadsheet uses a separate line for each record, with the fields for each record laid out in the columns.

Create a list of the calculated columns you want to include in the spreadsheet. For instance, if your spreadsheet contains a column listing the price of each unit sold and the number of units sold, you can create a calculated column that multiplies the units sold by the price per unit.

Enter a descriptive name for each column across the top of the spreadsheet. You can make the columns as wide as you wish, so be as descriptive as you need to be. To widen the column, simply place your cursor in one of the corners and drag it to the side.

Type your first record on the first line after the column headings. Enter the information for each column in the spreadsheet.

Create your calculated column using the arithmetic symbols. Use the "* key" for multiplication, the "/ key" for division, the "+ sign" for addition and the "-- key" for subtraction. For instance, if the price per unit is in cell D2 and the number of units is in cell E2, you would enter "=D2*E2" as your formula.

Highlight the formula you just created, press the "Ctrl" key and tap the "C" key to copy the formula to the clipboard. Highlight the cells where you want to copy the formula, hold the "Ctrl" key down and tap the "V" key to paste the formula to the adjoining cells.

Continue entering the information from subsequent rows until you have completed the spreadsheet. Save the spreadsheet to your hard drive when you are done.

About the Author

Based in Pennsylvania, Bonnie Conrad has been working as a professional freelance writer since 2003. Her work can be seen on Credit Factor, Constant Content and a number of other websites. Conrad also works full-time as a computer technician and loves to write about a number of technician topics. She studied computer technology and business administration at Harrisburg Area Community College.

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